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The Faculty of Education

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The Masters Programme

Mathematics Education

MPhil and MEd Part time and Full time - Mathematics Education Research

Full time Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Closed for 2015/16
Part time Master in Education (MEd)

The MEd in Mathematics Education (part-time) or the MPhil in Educational Research with a specialism in Mathematics Education (full-time) is for anyone with a research or professional interest in mathematics education at any level of education (primary, secondary, or tertiary), wanting to undertake advanced study in a world-class setting. The Mathematics Education route is taught by a specialist team, and its student cohort is drawn primarily from UK-based professionals (most of whom continue in their full-time posts while taking the course part-time) and international students (most of whom take the course on a full-time basis as a specialism within the Educational Research masters route).

The Mathematics Education route develops students' understanding of a number of important issues in the field of mathematics education. Students learn to interpret and critically engage with ideas and debates in mathematics education research in three ways:

  • through taught sessions in mathematics education;
  • through work on course assignments under the supervision of a member of the teaching team; and
  • through participation in seminars led by students on the route and in project workshops.

The students receive also robust training in educational research methods as part of either the Research Methods Strand (MEd students) or the Educational Research route (MPhil students).

Taught sessions in mathematics education

In advance of sessions, students are expected to read pre-set material intended to provide a context or focus for discussion. Sessions are organised in ways that draw explicitly on important research literature in mathematics education and on students' diverse backgrounds and experiences. All students are expected to contribute to, and to learn from, the discussions and activities during the sessions.

Examples of topics covered during taught sessions in mathematics education:

  • mainstream curricular topics including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics;
  • mathematical activities including problem solving, modelling, proving;
  • mathematics pedagogy and learning;
  • teacher knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes;
  • current policy issues, such as international comparisons, social justice, and use of resources in mathematics education.


Each student is assigned a supervisor and entitled to supervisions in accordance with Faculty norms. Supervisors are drawn from the mathematics education teaching team and are able to advise students on subject-specific elements of the masters course as well as offer support for preparation of course assignments and feedback on termly progress.

Student-led seminars and project workshops

Each student-led seminar is introduced by one or two students. This introductory talk is rather informal (use of PowerPoint slides is not required), lasts about 15 minutes, and is followed by discussion with the rest of the group. The choice of topic is up to the individual students. The following are examples of topics from past years that engaged the group in productive discussion:

  • An account of some characteristics of the educational system (or some part thereof such as primary education or teacher education) of the student's home country or another country where the student has lived or studied, as experienced by the student-leader.
  • An issue in mathematics teaching related to some experience of the student-leader, e.g., challenges in teaching graphs to a Year 8 class or in incorporating technology in primary mathematics teaching.

The project workshops offer an opportunity for students to present and get feedback on their developing ideas and ongoing work about their research projects. Prior to each workshop the route coordinator offers guidance about the expected length and format of presentations.

Student testimonials about the Mathematics Education route

Student on Masters

"The content of the MPhil was interesting and varied, and the guidance available from my supervisor and other academics in the department thoroughly enriched my experience at Cambridge. The skills I gained throughout the year prepared me well for further research not only in Mathematics Education, but also in other fields. I highly recommend the course for anyone with a background in mathematics looking to broaden their horizons."

Aurel Diamond - past MPhil student

Student on Masters

"Studying for the MEd exposed me to a wide variety of mathematics education research which has been invaluable in my role at the NRICH project developing problem solving resources and working with teachers to improve classroom practice. I received tremendous encouragement from my supervisor to be innovative and creative in designing my research project, and the flexibility of the part time route allowed me to complete a Masters degree which would otherwise not have been possible for me at this stage in my career."

Alison Kiddle - past MEd student

Student on Masters

"When I started this course, I was sure that it would help develop my skills in research. Over the two years, not only did I achieve that expectation, but my mathematical and pedagogical understanding, critical awareness and resilience were also enhanced. In addition to the individualised support I received, the relationship with my supervisors and other members of staff really supported my development. Furthermore, as a school leader, the part-time course structure enabled me to develop academically without compromising my professional life".

Sylvester Juwe – past MEd student

Student on Masters

"I have developed my understanding of mathematics education research during the year. I have learned to think more critically, rigorously and paying attention in details during the research process. Also, the writing of the essays and the thesis gave me the autonomy to engage further with topics of my interest, having at the same time guidance and support from the supervisors."

Eleni Demosthenous - past MPhil student

Application process, fees, and entry requirements

Full details of the application process, fees, and entry requirements are available at Masters Application Procedure.

Route coordinator:

Andreas Stylianides